When a professional project becomes a passion project and the sad occasion has a first anniversary …
This is the story of the Ukrainian photographers Vladimir Ogloblin and Olena Dolzhenko, whose work in Germany is supported by Hahnemühle.
In April 2022 we meet the photographer Valdimir Ogloblin at Hahnemühle. He has fled to Germany as his hometown in Ukraine is bombed for two days right at the start of the war on 24 February. He is too old to fight in the army, so he sets off on his first “forced journey” to Germany. In his luggage are two cameras, a laptop and memory disks full of peaceful pictures from Ukraine. Here in Germany he continues to take pictures and he wants to help. With exhibitions. We support him in doing this. His pictures show “what we have lost”, he says, pointing to the motif of the sparsely snow-covered field exactly one year after the war began. It shows the green border to Russia. The house in the picture no longer exists, the field has been bombed.
Enhanced by new pictures from our region, where he has found refuge and immediately starts taking pictures, we organise an exhibition within three weeks in May 2022. With the help of translation apps, we select motifs and the matching Digital FineArt paper from Hahnemühle. These pictures touch many people and they buy limited editions of them. The proceeds of more than 4000 € are donated 100% to humanitarian organisations in Kharkiv, Vladimir’s hometown.
Further exhibitions follow in summer 2022 and his colleague Olena Dolzhenko comes to Germany. She has pictures from war-ravaged Kharkiv with her. The building where the two photographers run a photography school was also destroyed. Their life’s work, a pile of rubble. In addition to the photos, the photographers also show shell fragments or a completely demolished camera from their former photography school in the exhibitions.
As an accredited army photographer, Olena travels to the front in eastern Ukraine again and again and brings back new pictures. Peacefully playing children on an intact playground in front of a completely bombed and burnt-out school. “A school with extended German lessons,” Olena tells us. It is her old school. She learned German there.
We at Hahnemühle have been supporting the two photographers for a year and helping to organise further exhibitions and PR. This includes coverage by the Deutsche Presse-Agentur or TV and Radio and printings in major German newspapers such as the Süddeutschen Zeitung and the ZEIT. “I have now realised that I can also help here,” Ogloblin emphasises. But he definitely wants to return to Kharkiv as soon as that is somehow possible. “We have to rebuild the homeland,” he says. “Germany was just a spot on the map for me before, now I want to take my experiences from Germany to Ukraine and bring both countries closer together.” A passion project is also a professional project.